By Devon Chodzin ’19
After reviewing Depression Cherry, I never thought I would ever review another Beach House album in my college career. Yet, here I am.
Beach House just dropped Thank Your Lucky Stars, their second studio album in two months. Thank Your Lucky Stars was actually recorded at the same time as Depression Cherry, but the differences are fairly stark. If Depression Cherry can be characterized as a departure from the heavily reverberating Bloom and Teen Dream, then Thank Your Lucky Stars is an intergalactic escape from the aggressively echoing 2010 and 2012 studio albums. Beach House, comprised of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally of Baltimore, appears to gravitate toward a less intense dream pop sound in this album, and yet their enthusiasm shines through as it does in their past discography.
Track by track, this album is one grand story. The premier song, “Majorette,” is very unusual for Beach House, let alone unusual for dream pop. While “Levitation” on Depression Cherry is quite an obvious opening track, “Majorette” is more covert in the way it operates as a premier. It’s tantalizing, whetting fans’ appetites for more, of which they certainly won’t be disappointed.
Most tracks are oddly chilling. This album was certainly designed to be released in mid-October, as fall has effectively encroached upon us Midwesterners and jack-o-lanterns become a more ubiquitous sight. Many songs make use of the organ sound, which functions to add a feeling of “Halloween” to the album.
Each track has some sort of characteristic which truly sets it apart. “She’s So Lovely” reminds me quite a bit of the cult-favorite murder mystery Twin Peaks, while “All Your Yeahs” sounds like a hybridization of Beach House and The Beatles. Manipulations of sound and pattern function to make these weird transitions, connecting Beach House to artists miles apart from them in era, style, and genre. Beach House’s records work not to transcend genre but to bend it in ways which prove its fluidity.
The only tracks which don’t thrill me are “The Traveler” and “Rough Song,” and even then, that’s just from first listen. Some Beach House experiences require a little more marinating and analysis before a conjecture can be reached on their quality. That being said, if 7 out of 9 tracks immediately move me emotionally, then Thank Your Lucky Stars has done its job. The best tracks are absolutely “Common Girl” and “Elegy to the Void,” which happen to be the shortest and longest tracks, respectively, on the album. “Elegy to the Void” almost sounds like a requiem and the theme of death seems more interspersed throughout this record than on any other. Happy Halloween.
Critical reception has lauded the content but criticized the release timing. While getting two albums in two months may feel very satisfactory to fans, to others, it may feel like too much of a good thing. Personally, I’m more in love with Depression Cherry just because I endured three years of loathsome waiting and a summer of playing “Sparks” on repeat while awaiting the release of the full album. Thank Your Lucky Stars feels like it happened too fast. I wasn’t ready for a new album. It is sensory overload. But, Beach House’s confidence in both returning to their original sound and releasing music on a unique timeline shows a certain level of pride and comfort in their artistry that defies expectations in ways most appealing to someone like myself.
Give this album a chance. Get to know the real Beach House. Hopefully, we’ll never lose sight of them ever again.